It all started when the egg and cheese sandwich was discontinued. And then, the excitement over holiday cups and seeing SO many red cups everywhere, wondering where they would end up – likely in a landfill. Then, there was the turtle with the straw stuck up his nose video. And finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back (or mine in this instance) was this New York Times article that shed light on our dirty little plastic habit, which until now we felt good about thanks to recycling. Now these recycled items are just building up with the potential to be buried in the earth or burned! More on our fury with plastic another time.
For now, we’re talking about our favorite local coffee shop – conveniently located above our office. We’re regulars. Soy lattes, almond milk mistos with a dash of cinnamon, a Blonde drip or Americano with a splash of almond milk, and cold brew in the summer. Our office recycle bin is filled with – you guessed it – Starbucks cups and lids and straws. Except when I convince the barista that I’m staying in the café and can sneak a mug up to my office (it’s not otherwise permitted).
So when we saw the aforementioned New York Times article and then on a positive note, this article in Cosmo, we knew there was so much more our favorite coffee giant could do to positively change the world.
In a nutshell, here are our ideas: Starbucks, we hope you’re listening.
- Encourage people to bring their own cups and mugs! Post signs, be vocal, charge a fee. We all have trunks full of reusable bags – it’s a proven concept.
- Become a waste free environment. Huge festivals can do it, you can do it too with biodegradable service items
- Switch to paper straws – if you’re wondering if it will be acceptable for patrons, play the turtle video for a month inside your cafes. Also know that many other food establishments are ahead of you here. Ahem.
- Nix the sleeves and stirrers. People. Coffee is hot, enjoy it. And use a reusable spoon to stir your coffee. Tons of other coffee shops are already doing this
- Take ownership and communicate the real cost of convenience – we read that there are 4 billion Starbucks cups thrown away each year – and ask your customers to help you make a real change (like cutting that number in half by the end of 2020). You’ll become the standard!
- Bring back the egg and cheese sandwich! Have more vegetarian options. Every time I buy the bacon, egg and gouda sandwich, no bacon, my 8-year old son says – doesn’t anyone care that animal is being killed to be thrown in the garbage.
Starbucks, you’re in a position to save the world. Seize it.